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Using digital potentiometers for programmable amplifier gain

Posted: 28 Jun 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital potentiometers  amplifier gain  op amp 

Usually a sensor requires its output signal to be amplified before being converted to a digital representation. Many times an op amp is used to implement a signal gain circuit. The programmability of this type of circuit allows the following issues to be solved:
• Optimisation of the sensor output voltage range;

• Calibration of the amplifier circuit's gain;
• Adapting gain to input signal variations (sensor characteristics change over temperature/voltage; multiple input sources into a single gain circuit);
• Field calibration updates;
• Increased reliability vs. mechanical potentiometer;
• BOM consolidation (one op amp and one digital potentiometer supporting the various sensor options).

This application note discusses implementations of programmable gain circuits using an op amp and a digital potentiometer. This discussion includes implementation details for the digital potentiometer's resistor network. It is important to understand these details to understand the effects on the application.

View the PDF document for more information.

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